Stuart Lowman’s Inbox: “Freedom is hard won and all too easily lost.”

In response to 50 Shades of Grey and the Constitution, Doctor Terry Berelowitz queries the argument on rights:

Flawed (ir)rationale. The jumper with high probability will land on a few people causing death, injury and some scrapes. So, you do need to care about others’ choices. This choice is not just a personal one. That’s what you have to figure in. That’s what unravels your “rights” argument.

Community member Noel Pipkin looks at an inclusive approach to Covid-19 eradication:

Let me say from the start. I do not like the term ‘“Anti-Vax”. There is evidence that the vaccination can be beneficial. But the argument is should it be mandatory for everyone. My belief is no. Like all medications the vaccine is beneficial to many people particularly those with weak immune systems for a variety of medical reasons. Hence the initial drive to offer the vaccine to the elderly who have weak immune systems. That was the initial motivation for granting release of the vaccines under emergency regulations and the granting of indemnity against possible adverse consequences to the pharmaceutical companies. If one looks at the data on deaths issued by the UK Office of National Statistics it is clear that at the height of the pandemic in 2020 it was the above 60 age group that accounted for almost 90% of the deaths where COVID was mentioned on the death certificates. I reiterate “mentioned” but not necessarily the cause of death. Having looked at the data for 2021, it is still the over 60s who account for the bulk of these deaths. So I can see the rationale behind the focus on the elderly for vaccination. However, the question arises as to whether or not it is wise to vaccinate the whole population.

It seems natural immunity is preferable to vaccinated immunity since it provides significantly longer protection, perhaps for life. That has been the case for other diseases such as mumps, measles, chicken pox etc. The vaccines, particularly the Pfizer vaccine have so far shown very limited efficacy so that multiple vaccinations are required. In the case of Pfizer, as I understand it, we are now up to three doses within a year. That concerns me.

But I believe we need a more holistic approach to dealing with the virus. By all means use vaccines to protect the vulnerable. However, we need to look at other approaches. One of these is natural immunity which has served us well over the millennia.

Another is a cure. I have had a concern for some time that this area has been neglected. Indeed the approach thus far seems to be one of self isolation for 2 weeks and see if you get very sick requiring hospitalisation and leading in some cases to death. Not a very good approach in my opinion. In addition those doctors who have claimed success in treating patients, particularly in the early stages of infection, seem to have been denigrated and sometimes cancelled in the media. They are using a variety of existing medications in achieving their success. So why not include these treatment protocols in our drive to eradicate or at least control the virus? These medications seem to be “safe” as they have been used for decades in the treatment of other ailments. And surely a cure is the preferred route in our attempts to eradicate the disease.

With regard to controlling the spread of the disease there is evidence from Israel, a country that has a high percentage of vaccinated people, that mass vaccination has increased the rate of transmission not reduced it. This is in line with what Geert Vanden Bossche has been saying for over a year. Other countries have also observed this correlation. So it seems it is the vaccinated that are the source of transmission not the unvaccinated; a point made by Vanden Bossche.

Remember also that vaccination has not eliminated flu viruses. Rather it has encouraged mutations so that an annual vaccination is necessary. It seems the same is becoming true with COVID. In this regard we have neither the time nor the economic resources to vaccinate the whole population every year. So we must be selective in offering help to the vulnerable.

What I believe is the correct approach to the problem is a multi-pronged one, not one of mass vaccination. There is evidence to suggest we have tools at hand to achieve this. And I will reiterate that it is my belief that a cure is preferable to a vaccination and the best way in an attempt to eradicate the virus.

But there are other non-medical issues here. One is freedom of choice. This is another reason why I am against mandatory vaccinations. Freedom is hard won and all too easily lost. If I do not get vaccinated then, if the vaccines are effective, the only person I put at risk is myself. And I reserve the right to take that risk based on my assessment of the risk.

And in response to David Lipschitz’s argument, community member Stan Sandler has a disagreement with point 3:

Whilst David Lipschitz makes valid points, I have to disagree with him on his third pronouncement that, unless the government builds more hospitals, trains more doctors, the burgeoning South African population growth which he says, has doubled in the last few decades, will in a few decades forward place us in a serious situation. The problem, David, is not so much the lack of hospitals, doctors and associated infrastructure to which you allude, but rather lack of concern on the rapid burgeoning population growth that is allowed to occur without any allusion to it from government, opposition parties, editors and journalists. Put simply, maybe there are enough hospitals, doctors, schools, teachers and other related infrastructures, but maybe, just maybe, there are too many people. Thomas Malthus, an English political economist believed that because population increases exponentially by doubling, it will mean that if every person has two offspring, and they in turn have two offspring and so on, the following will occur: 2,4,6,8, 16, 32 … Malthus came to this conclusion during his lifetime, 1766-1834. He suggested then, the use of preventative measures to control population growth. No word from the government or any other interested party on population control, family planning. In this context, I refer readers to the newly appointed chief executive of Tembisa Hospital, Dr Ashley Mthunzi, who said that the hospital in question, was not intended to serve as many patients as it does, claiming that as the population grew, the associated  infrastructure remained static. To overcome this problem, he said, was to expand the maternity unit!. No mention of setting up a family planning unit or extending such services. The new Minister of Health needs to concentrate on family planning and overpopulation to which David Lipschitz alludes. Failing this, the South African government will constantly be on the back foot and despite President Ramaphosa’s  pronouncements on job creation, reducing poverty and inequality, the ever burgeoning population growth will negate all of this and the government always playing catch-up with a better life for all remaining a chimera. The time will come that the ever increasing population will outstrip food production. It amazes me that there are no narratives nor dialogues in this regard.

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